Sunday, January 01, 2012

December 31: A Big Number and a Big Edit

December 31, 2011
What is your "one word"? One word for this year, one word for next year.

My word for 2011 was actually a number, the number 52. January of last year I didn't make any New Year's resolutions so much as I set out to do these 52 things: cook 52 new recipes, read 52 books and do 52 creative things. And I did it. I read 95 books and reviewed most of them, cooked roughly 54 new recipes often with Joe's help (I'm working on a full list and links to follow shortly, mostly for myself since I failed to actually print out and save most of the recipes, yikes) and while I don't know that I did 52 separate creative things I did enough big creative things that on my terms, I accomplished my goal.

Roast Chicken with Mustard Butter and Potatoes

And the results are more than just being able to cross that goal off of some imaginary list: I'm a better, more flexible cook. I accomplished part of #37 on my life list. I can roast a chicken and whip up pan-fried fish without the breading all falling off and know the nutty perfection of browned butter and bake bread and mix a salad dressing and I can tinker and adjust and don't have to rely so heavily on the recipe. I read some amazing books and bonded with new friends over them, books that opened my eyes and touched my heart and taught me lessons, and entertained.

And I learned to knit. After 6 months I've almost finished my first scarf. Yeah, it's really long and I'm really slow.  I've nearly finished a huge scrapbook of the last ten years of our life. I wrote 186 blog posts. I took thousands of photographs, all over California and Kansas City and places in between and north and south.


I made new jewelry out of vintage brooches and beads. I made Christmas presents, turning t-shirts into chic little necklace/scarves. I baked and candied and sent treats to friends and family all over. I made a version of one of these for 2012. And I had a blast doing it all. So those were the fun things. I did those. I do those well.


There are always those things that are harder to accomplish though. Not blogged about. Not photogenic and festive and easy to share. They involve much harder work. I ignored some of those things a bit in 2011. With my head in the sand on some more personal issues, sort of frozen and in limbo a bit, I'm trying to find a way to consider this stagnant behavior as more of a coping mechanism that it's time to outgrow.  Because it's easier to just label myself as lazy or weak willed. It's easier to beat myself up and be judgmental instead of examining the reasons for my hiding. I'm not weak-willed or lazy. There are reasons that I froze. They may not be logical or right, but there were and are reasons. Based in fear and uncertainty and old habits.  But I'm getting unstuck.

So when I initially thought about 2011 I felt like I hadn't accomplished much this year. I thought maybe I'd wasted time in getting to where I'm supposed to be.  My fixation on the things I was trying to ignore actually blinded me to all of the things that I'm proud or happy about having accomplished this year. When I stopped looking at the things I wish I had done, turns out, it was a pretty wonderful year regardless.

We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and took a fabulous trip to San Francisco in honor of that little milestone. I completed my certificate in professional fundraising through the University of Missouri Kansas City. I got a promotion/job title change and a raise. I increased my billable hours and worked with some great new clients. I volunteered again with Literacy Kansas City and had to chance to tutor two new students. I served on a board for a young nonprofit professional organization. We traveled a lot. I wrote ten book reviews for Blogher's Book Club and had two of my reviews chosen as featured reviews. I was published on other blogs, The Gloss, with my horribly embarrassing prom story and Can I Sit By You?, again mining the perils of teenage melodrama for writing material. And I had a post about growing up at Royals Stadium chosen for promotion on Blogher's new Sports Page. These things made me giddy. Because it meant that someone impartial read what I wrote and liked it, liked it enough to publish it online.

I helped kick start the Reverb Broads with Kristen, joining a cadre of smart, insightful and funny writers. I made new friends, through the power of the interwebs and in person. I spent so much time with my family and nephews, and we welcomed our new baby niece to the family and I get to be her fairy godmother.  New babies, new friends, some sad losses in the family too, but it was a full year. It's easy and rather selfish to focus on the negative when my life is delightfully lush and full and blessed and abundant. So that brings us to this new year.

For 2012, instead of focusing on a number, I'm going to choose the word "edit." I want to edit four main things. I will edit the draft of my first novel that I wrote part of for NaNoWriMo in late 2010 and promptly ignored all last year. I will edit my food choices and add in healthier options and rewrite my exercise routine so that it is more fun and less rigid, which always leads me to failure anyway once I miss a workout. I want to edit our house and clear out some of the clutter and wrap up some projects. And I want to edit the way that I've spent some of my volunteer time. I want to find a new organization to support and make sure that I'm sharing the abundance in my life with others.  I've created a pretty fantastic life for myself over here, now it just needs a little editing.

What's your word for 2012? Do you focus on the negative as easily as I do? Are New Year's resolutions just a load of hooey? Did I just use the word hooey?


lanie@ plumb tuckered said...

and isn't it funny how easily we default into the "I haven't done anything" mindset, when, from an outside vantage point, the year looks pretty amazing. color me impressed.

bethany actually said...

YES! I love that "edit" is your word for the year. Not least because I am itching to get my hands on this novel of yours. ;-)

Kristendom said...

Every year you and I write new year's posts, and every year, there is something ridiculously similar in them - without even trying. Obviously I'm way behind on reading here, but I cracked up when I saw your "editing" projects - look familiar?
Go you with the novel editing! I'm so excited about that one. :-)